The true story of Abraham Lincoln's last murder trial, a strange case in which he had a deep personal involvement--and which was played out in the nation's newspapers as he began his presidential campaign.At the end of the summer of 1859, twenty-two-year-old Peachy Quinn Harrison went on trial for murder in Springfield, Illinois. Abraham Lincoln, who had been involved in more than three thousand cases--including more than twenty-five murder trials--during his two-decades-long career, was hired to defend him. This was to be his last great case as a lawyer.What normally would have been a local case took on momentous meaning. Lincoln's debates with Senator Stephen Douglas the previous fall had gained him a national following, transforming the little-known, self-taught lawyer into a respected politician. He was being urged to make a dark-horse run for the presidency in 1860. Taking this case involved great risk. His reputation was untarnished, but should he lose this trial, should Harrison be convicted of murder, the spotlight now focused so brightly on him might be dimmed. He had won his most recent murder trial with a daring and dramatic maneuver that had become a local legend, but another had ended with his client dangling from the end of a rope.The case posed painful personal challenges for Lincoln. The murder victim had trained for the law in his office, and Lincoln had been his friend and his mentor. His accused killer, the young man Lincoln would defend, was the son of a close friend and loyal supporter. And to win this trial he would have to form an unholy allegiance with a longtime enemy, a revivalist preacher he had twice run against for political office--and who had bitterly slandered Lincoln as an "infidel...too lacking in faith" to be elected.Lincoln's Last Trial captures the presidential hopeful's dramatic courtroom confrontations in vivid detail as he fights for his client--but also for his own blossoming political future. It is a moment in history that shines a light on our legal system, as in this case Lincoln fought a legal battle that remains incredibly relevant today....
|Title||:||Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency|
|Number of Pages||:||368 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Lincolns » Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency|
Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency Reviews
While I have long stated that I am an admirer of Lincoln, I have to say it was difficult to read this book. The idea of reading about Lincoln as a lawyer was intriguing; however, I wasn't as drawn in as I had hoped. I co-worker and I were both reading this as part of our "reclusive book club" and we agreed it was just hard to get through. I did keep going and I am not sorry that I did, but I felt like I was doing a school project.
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Edelweiss/Hanover Square. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
The title of this book is not entirely accurate. While this was the last sensational case that Lincoln handled as an attorney before his nomination for the presidency, he had a few smaller cases after this one finished in the summer of 1859. Also, it is a bit of a stretch to say that this case propelled him to the presidency, although it could have done a lot of harm had he lost th ...more
Lincoln's Last Trial is a well-written, compelling telling of Lincoln's last major case (a murder trial) prior to his election as the 16th President. Told through the point of view of Robert Hitt, scribe to the trial, whose handwritten manuscript of the trial discovered in 1989 is the basis of the book, we learn how well-respected Lincoln was as a lawyer and a man. His decades long law practice had spread his reputation far and wide in Illinois, and the recent Lincoln-Douglas debates had put him ...more
The murder trial described in the book is an interesting case. We don't learn much about the accused; we learn a lot about the victim. The writing style is stilted, lessening this reader's interest. Although a long bibliography is presented, and they assert that every fact is checked, I am wondering how the authors knew that the judge wore only his undergarments under his robe. They do a lot to discuss the state of jurisprudence in IL and nation in the 1850s, but some of the discussions seem lik ...more
This book is well written and it is an enjoyable read. Abrams chose to tell the story from the perspective of the trail stenographer, Rober Hitt, which brought an interesting perspective.
At one point in the book, Abrams noted that the stenographers were taught to be careful not to falsely attribute quotations in their notes. Abrams should have followed that advice himself.
For some reason, Abrams created dialogue and quotations throughout the book. That was completely unnecessary and made me que ...more
This book was so much fun to read that I zipped through it in a day. The story of Abraham Lincoln's last major trial before securing the nomination for president and the office itself, it not only brings Lincoln's skill as a criminal trial lawyer to life, it's also an interesting story in and of itself of a terribly poignant fight and killing between two young Springfield area men who were often friends.
To make it all the more fascinating, the dead man was a youth who had studied law under Linc ...more
A competent and interesting history that does a good job with the legal concepts involved. The writing is adequate, but fails to deliver on portraying the brilliance of Lincoln in the courtroom or the importance of the case in Lincoln's political career. Lincoln's courtroom brilliance is legendary, but none of the anecdotes recounted reflect that brilliance. As a veteran of criminal jury trials, I can say that many of of tactics, questions, and arguments retold do show Lincoln to be skilled and ...more
"Talk to the jury as though your client's fate depends on every word you utter. Forget that you have any one to fall back upon, and you will do justice to yourself and your client."
- Abraham Lincoln
There are many levels of biography and history. There are academic books, published by small academic presses. There are popular biographies, written by journalists, etc., that tend to follow a more narrative-style. Obviously, Dan Abram's short history of Abraham Lincoln's last murder trial fits the l ...more